1 Nov 2009 8:15 am   //   Filed under: Brooklyn, New York is different, Photos

I love this picture

stjmefire

I recently worked on a booklet to commemorate my church’s 150th anniversary. While looking through some old stuff, we found this picture. We’re pretty sure it shows members of the congregation cleaning up after a fire seriously damaged the building in 1955. I can’t stop looking at it.

I don’t know what kind of camera was in use in 1955, but this photograph was printed wide; this scan is not cropped. The photographer focused on the four people in the middle ground, who are well illuminated by a flash. The two women on the left paused to look at the photographer, the two men on the right did not, and the man in the middle looks undecided.

These five earnest, concerned young adults wouldn’t look out of place in our neighborhood 54 years later. (With slight—but only slight!—wardrobe changes.) I love how Brooklyn can be such a “now” place, yet still be built on the hard work and history of people who came before us. We live in the same apartments they lived in, we wait on the same subway platforms they stood on, and we worship in the same buildings they worshiped in. Their ghosts are among us.